No. 3 Florida didn’t get a chance to have much fun in the “Fun-n-Gun” Saturday.
The Gators’ explosive offense ran only 59 plays, the second-lowest number for a Steve Spurrier-coached team, but it was still enough for a 28-10 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi.
“That’s about the shortest one we’ve ever played here,” Spurrier said after the 2-hour 45-minute game. “I can’t ever remember a game where we had eight offensive possessions total.”
Ole Miss kept the game close by controlling the clock, mindful that Florida was averaging nearly 50 points and more than 76 plays per game.
Even with the Rebels in the football version of the four corners, Danny Wuerffel managed to throw three touchdown passes, giving him 12 for the season, and freshman Jacquez Green scored the first two touchdowns of his career.
But Florida, 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC, continued to struggle on defense, surrendering 325 yards to Ole Miss (2-2, 1-2) and leaving Spurrier exasperated.
Florida scored on its first three possessions but couldn’t pull away because Ole Miss held a 10:40 advantage in time of possession. Also, Spurrier appeared to heed the criticism concerning teams running up the score, allowing the clock to run out with the Gators on the Ole Miss 14.
The Rebels squandered several good scoring chances. Tim Montz, who came in six for six on field goals, missed two of three attempts, including a 42-yarder in the second quarter after a nearly nine-minute drive. Ole Miss’ final chance ended when Mark Smith was stopped at the line of scrimmage on fourth and three at the Florida 14 midway through the final quarter.
“If Ole Miss would have scored touchdowns on all of their drives, it would have been different,” Spurrier said.
Wuerffel threw for six touchdowns and ran for another in a 62-37 victory over Tennessee two weeks earlier to vault himself into serious consideration for the Heisman Trophy. He wasn’t nearly as sharp against Ole Miss, overthrowing several passes and having another intercepted in the end zone.
“After the emotion and all the scoring of the last game,” Spurrier said, “this one was a little on the lackluster side.”
Wuerffel completed 17 of 27 for 268 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Ike Hilliard, an eight-yarder to Chris Doering and a 33-yarder to Green, who got extensive playing time with receiver Reidel Anthony and three other players serving a one-game suspension for fraudulent use of a credit card.
“I thought we had a good game plan and executed,” Ole Miss Coach Tommy Tuberville said, “but we have some things to work on. You can’t give up that many big plays and they forced us into man-to-man coverage at times and we couldn’t keep up with those receivers.”
Especially Green, who scored Florida’s first touchdown with a 42-yard run on an unorthodox call by Spurrier: a reverse on fourth and two. Green got away from one tackler in the backfield with help of a block by Wuerffel, cut back at the 40 and again at the 20 to avoid defenders and waltzed into the end zone only 2:50 into the game.